Creating water and sanitation solutions in Peru with Water for People
Water For People is an international organization headquartered in the United States with operations in India, Africa, and Latin America. It helps people improve their quality of life by developing locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs. Water For People’s Everyone Forever initiative is a program to provide water and sanitation to everyone in targeted districts and municipalities, forever. That means these districts and communities never again need another international water agency to address their water challenges.
Above (left to right): Gary Atencio, Ana María Esparza, Daniela Navarro and Miguel Rentería of Water For People-Peru, in the city of Cascas, Peru, 30 January 2014. Photo by Jhordan Ava
Before the program began, only two thirds of people in rural areas had access to improved water sources and only 38% of rural residents had access to improved sanitation facilities, compared to 81% of urban residents.
Rather than focussing on individual households and villages, the Everyone Forever program aims to create lasting solutions in targeted districts. The Everyone Forever model focuses on capacity building, continuous monitoring, and scale and replication.
To this end, Water for People created Flow in 2010, a software application that can collect, manage and monitor geographically-referenced data from a mobile phone or a tablet. This way, field data can be monitored and evaluated continuously. The program began its work in Peru in 2008, and the Everyone Forever initiative began in Cascas, in the Region of La Libertad in 2011 and Asunción, in the Region of Cajamarca in 2013.
In 2012, Water for People teamed up with Akvo in order to focus on building local capacity. Akvo was uniquely positioned to continue to develop Flow and provide ongoing support to partners.
Water For People believes that sustainable solutions can only be achieved when local actors, including the private sector, local government, and civil society, work together. Since Akvo took over the development and support of Flow, Water for People has been able to focus on working closely with local actors, from municipal governments to schools, using the data captured and monitored in Flow. By focusing on capacity building and co-ownership, communities and countries are involved in the whole process, ensuring that they are able to finance and maintain the systems once the program has reached completion.
Water for People continues to be a leading user of Akvo Flow, assisting in the testing and deployment of the latest versions in its programs.
Since the Everyone Forever initiative began, Water for People has convinced the municipal government to hire a dedicated water and sanitation engineer. In schools, Water For People-Peru is helping to propagate a water, sanitation, hygiene and water resources management curriculum with plans to scale this program to schools in the entire district.
Water For People–Peru is also working with households to increase hygiene awareness, with local finance institutions to make loans available for toilets and with private sector partners to design sanitation options that are affordable and attractive to the rural poor.
At the local level, Water For People-Peru works not only with the district governments of Cascas and Asunción, but also with provincial governments and regional governments. In this way, Water For People-Peru is able to promote Everyone Forever programing in districts beyond the two districts of direct intervention. According to Water for People, 69% of rural people now have access to improved water facilities and 57% of people in rural areas have improved access to sanitation facilities.